Wednesday, May 4, 2011

cinco de mayo! olé!

cinco de mayo is not mexico's independence day but it is a reminder of freedom and even more so a reminder of national unity and patriotism. how ironic that as a nation, we are experiencing much the same this week. all opinions aside, we have been reminded that unity is priceless, that as people we need unity and that when we are not unified, we fall.

it's a bittersweet reminder to many. and for our house, a bittersweet story.

i have always wanted to be close to those that love gregory, to see what they see in him. and when he asked to marry me, he made it very clear that one of his closest friends was going to need to be in our wedding. many phone calls were made back and forth but garrett could not attend due to his military commitments. but don't worry, we still honored him that day with an uneven bridal party!

from that moment on, i anticipated february 2011, the date of garrett's arrival back to the states from afghanistan. i knew after his arrival home that we would eventually get to see him, hopefully to hang out with him here in austin at our place or in memphis where the boys grew up.

but he didn't come home in february. instead, we've been mourning his loss since december. it's been so hard on gregory and in our minds, garrett is still very much alive. because of his passing, i have had the joy of hearing so many stories from gregory about his dear friend and i feel like i do know him. i am so thankful for garrett's influence on gregory's life.

one thing gregory often mentions is that one of garrett's favorite meals was green chile enchiladas. we live in texas so we see a lot of them and everytime we do, gregory brings it up. so this one's for you, garrett. we've got a seat for you at our table <3 and we're proud to have known the best marine in the world.

i served the enchiladas with a fruit salad. i'll throw that in here, too, for a complete cinco de mayo meal - with drinks of your choice, of course!

papaya, mango, cantaloupe salad
serves 4

1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped mango
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
2 tbs chopped mint
juice of one lime

a quick word on chopping herbs. using scissors in a glass is a GENIUS idea! it doesn't bruise the herbs! try it. who made this up anyway? does anyone know? nobel prize!!

green chile chicken enchiladas

adapted from t. florence, makes 12

total prep and cook time : 1.5 hours

corn tortillas
2 poblano peppers
1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 c all purpose flour
4 c chicken stock
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded

salsa verde

12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 large or 2 small jalapenos, stemmed (remove seeds for less heat)
1 onion quartered
2 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes

- for the verde, place tomatillos, jalapeno, quartered onion and vinegar in a sauce pan, covering with water. bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- put tomatillo mix in a blender and add in remaining salsa verde ingredients. set aside in shallow bowl.

- broil or place on direct gas stove flame the poblanos until blackened and then peel off skin and dice. (remove seeds to lessen heat.)
- put a tbs of olive oil in a large skillet on medium and sautee the sliced onion for 5 minutes, add the garlic and sautee for one minute, add the cumin and cook one minute more.
- stir in the flour. once incorporated, slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking as you pour.
- add the cut chicken, diced poblano, cilantro and cumin. allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

to assemble:

- dip each tortilla in salsa verde, fill with chicken and poblano mixture, top with cheese and roll into a baking dish. continue until all tortillas are filled. make sure to place enchiladas seam side down.
- pour the remaining salsa verde over the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve with guacamole and sour cream.

Monday, May 2, 2011

brown butter cocoa brownies

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!! (hey MOM!!) today was my last monday in school EVER! what a joyous occasion. and cause for more celebrations, yes? yes!

good thing i am starting half marathon training tomorrow. my diet could totes use an overhaul, too. i'll get to work on that!

in the meantime, another chocolate-based post? not sorry!!

this recipe adapted from a site i stumbled upon this week and really enjoy! browned butter is good for the soul and this recipe proves it. not your ordinary brownie... no, not at all.

browned butter cocoa brownies
serves 12

1.25 sticks of butter, plus a little for greasing
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup turbinado
1/4 cup agave
3/4 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup whole wheat flour

- preheat the oven to 325 and butter (or spray) a foiled 7x11 pan.
- heat butter over medium for about 5 minutes or until browning begins, stirring often.
- once butter browns, add the sugars, cocoa powder and vanilla immediately and allow to cool for five minutes. (you may definitely use 1.5 c regular sugar instead of being a crazy and using three types like me!)
- whisk in eggs to the slightly cooled mixture quickly so they do not scramble then add the flour and turn until well incorporated.
- bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out slightly crumbly.
- allow to cool, remove from pan with foil and cut into desired sizes.

worth three pictures. just sayin'.

p.s. get excited about cinqo de mayo. i'm cooking up something fun, promise!!